Play hard

The Comparison game

I think one of the worst things a parent, a grandparent, or a relative could do to a child is to compare them with other children. I am thankful my parents never did that. I am also thankful my parents advised me to never compare myself to other people. I am sure I started this self-flagellation of comparing myself to others as early as elementary school…maybe even sooner? I think into my 20s it was pretty bad because I was concerned about career and life satisfaction. Now in my 30s, I am actively fighting against it.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #181 – Double Dipping

This week’s Lens-Artists challenge is to explore and try out different blog challenges. I always enjoy a good blog challenge to connect with other bloggers, go through old photos that are in my hard drive and make its way to my blog, and exercise my creative muscles. I always love a good mix of writing and photography. Here are some blog challenges I participated in:

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The Four day New Year’s weekend

Happy Weekend Coffee Share and Happy New Year! It’s been an eventful three weeks: I was sick throughout Christmas weekend (tested negative for COVID), my husband was sick as well (tested negative for COVID), BIL #2 was sick through Christmas to after New Year’s (he had COVID), and two of my coworkers had COVID and were out for 10 days. We were so so so short-staffed at my office over the last two weeks.

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Growing her own set of angel wings (PPAC #27)

I love this set of angel wings at the Universal City Walk. This stunning pair of angel wings is accessible to the public; Universal City Walk is like the downtown Disney counterpart where you do not need an admission ticket to shop and dine. I love the detail in these wings: on the left there’s a camera and a light and the right there a few iconic LA buildings such as the Disney Music Hall, Griffith Observatory, and the mayor’s office.

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(Re)Invigorate

The last Weekend Coffee Share of the year! I have to say, I’m surprised I kept up this blog the whole year. If anything, this blog has helped me process through a lot of difficult moments. In addition to Weekend Coffee Share, I participate in the Photographing Public Art Challenge, the Lens-Artists Photography Challenge, and the monthly #whatsonyourbookshelf. I created a new series on my blog such as “Eat Around the World” where I explore and play with different food themes — I always wanted to incorporate more food posts on my blog. Once in a while, I like to play armchair sociologist where I write about being Asian-American and share some of my observations. I even created a separate blog called “Lana at the Library” where we document Lana’s library haul.

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Psst…Don’t tell them there are vegetables in this dish!

Happy Weekend Coffee Share! I made some nachos, but here’s the twist: the cheese is plant-based. Breaking down the cheese sauce ingredients it’s potatoes, butternut squash, onions, garlic, nutritional yeast, and other spices.

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Go fly

Gather around everyone! I brought everyone a box of the world-famous Voodoo Donuts. Hailing from Portland, these donuts have set up shop in Los Angeles too. I warn you these donuts are a lot larger than pictured. They’re all at least the size of my hand.

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I’m thankful for the blogging community

Happy Thanksgiving! First of all, I would like to say I am thankful for the blogging community. I’ve blogged for a long time and went on an intermittent hiatus. It was shortly after I gave birth, I decided to return to blogging. I was hoping to make blogging a regular thing. I was not sure how I would do it, but I made it happen! I spend 30 minutes a day (more if it is on the weekend) doing something blogging-related whether it’s drafting a post, looking for a photo, making comments on other blogs, and replying to comments. I feel blogging has centered me during the most challenging times of my life. Though it has been tough for me to write and share about some things, it has helped me process and express the moment for I believe it will help me grow and become more resilient. Without blogging, I think I would have been in a darker place. I am happy to have found again this creative outlet.

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What has Mocha the Travelling Bear been up to?

This was originally posted back in 2017. Scroll past the grey box to see what Mocha has been to up to!

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This will be the year we get a Christmas tree!

Update on the San Diego home hunt

Actually, make that Orange County. My SIL and her son are moving in with her boyfriend. MIL is moving there too. BIL #2 is moving in to our house which means he’s sharing a room with BIL #1. It is what it is. We live in a 3-bedroom, 2 bath house. My husband and I bought the house back in 2015. In this market we have no plans to buy a home with more rooms.

Also, we’re still sticking with having one modest-sized TV which is in the living room. We have no plans to buy a larger TV. And we are sticking with our modest-sized refrigerator. When BIL #1 first moved in a year ago, he had the nerve to ask me to buy a bigger fridge. I told him when we remodel the kitchen, then we’ll buy a new fridge. We’ll remodel the kitchen, but it will be a while.

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Holiday planning

Here are all the things I meant to include in the previous weekends’ coffee share. Sit back and enjoy some milk tea and some snacks.

So we decided it was best to not go anywhere for this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ever since we moved to LA back in 2012, we have been splitting our time during November and December between LA and San Diego. One year, we’ll spend Thanksgiving weekend in San Diego and Christmas in LA. For the following year, we switch the visits. I’m not going to lie, it can be quite stressful for my husband and me because we’re the ones who make the drive while the San Diego family does not. I recalled from one Christmas in San Diego my husband asked me, “can you remind me why do we switch between SD and LA? It’s not like on years when we decide to stay in LA for Christmas they come over here.” My answer was, “it’s (your) family. I treat your family like I treat mine.” At that time we left in a rush after his sister soured Christmas morning with a family fight with her brothers and mom. At this point, he felt we were just going to San Diego just for the act of showing up for family.

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Birthday week

Another week in the books! Lana is officially one year old! On her birthday we bought mini cupcakes for her classmates and staff members at her daycare. For several days I kept telling myself “don’t forget to go the grocery store to pick up the mini-cupcakes.” Yesterday was her birthday party with immediate and extended family. Most of the work in planning was going back and forth with my husband on what food to serve (should we order from a restaurant or should we make?) and how much food to provide. My husband tends to overserve, while I tend to underserve (“are you sure this will be enough food?”). For me, the way I see underserving is that we get to clean up faster because most of the food is gone. But also through my years of experience in event planning, I always anticipate that about 20% of the people who initially planned to go end up not going. In contrast, my husband likes to overserve food because he knows he has many family members and they are big eaters. He sees that some of our family members are coming from far away, so we need to provide more than enough.

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